Meet Alex from Project Search

Project SEARCH is a partnership venture which prepares young people with disabilities or additional support needs for competitive employment. The successful launch of Project SEARCH, within the Dumfries area started in September 2015 and saw the first 12 young people (age 16-24) recruited into the program.

 The Project is a transition program that trains individuals to perform complex jobs and supports them into finding competitive employment in the community. Using a variety of different work place settings and engaging with local employers, Project SEARCH has been able to provide interns with a wide range of different skills sets and experience of different working environments, with the view to progress into paid employment in today’s job market. This project not only reinvests into our local young people but is also aimed to help build the local economy.

" Project search has been a great experience for me. A typical week includes four days on placement within Dumfries and Galloway Council and one classroom based day at Dumfries College where we work on team building and employability skills.

Over the past six months I have worked with the grounds maintenance team and the stores department based at Cargen Towers. While on placement I have helped maintain council gardens across Dumfries, tidying flower beds, weeding and general upkeep. I also have use buffer machines, vacuums and conducted manual jobs whilst within the stores department.

 I have really enjoyed all aspects of my placements as they were suited to my interests and allowed me to build work experience and skills which helped me gain my new job. Working with a variety of people every day has helped to improve my confidence and ability to speak to people on a variety of levels. I have also forged new friendships along the way and received great support and encouragement from Dumfries and Galloway Council staff members.

Thanks to the support I received from my project search mentors I have now secured my first paid employment as part of the seasonal grounds maintenance team with Dumfries and Galloway Council. This is a great opportunity for me to climb the career ladder and develop my skills further to hopefully secure a permanent position.

I can’t wait to start my new job this month!  I am most looking forward to working as a team with like mind people and using equipment related to the job. When I start my six month position I will be in one of three groups; burial services, community maintenance and helping the elderly.  I would like to get a feel for all three as this will increase my skills set and future prospects.

In the future I hope to have a fulltime permanent position and be able to progress professionally by increasing my qualifications and expanding my knowledge in a number of areas such as forestry and horticulture. "